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Vocational training: A practical option for gifted hands

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th January 2009 03:00 AM

THE Primary Leaving Examinations results are out. Children and parents should not think that one’s failure to attain high grades to be admitted to secondary school means failure in life.

THE Primary Leaving Examinations results are out. Children and parents should not think that one’s failure to attain high grades to be admitted to secondary school means failure in life.

By JOHN KASOZI

THE Primary Leaving Examinations results are out. Children and parents should not think that one’s failure to attain high grades to be admitted to secondary school means failure in life.

There is an option—one can join a vocational institute that will still lead them to their dreams. Eng. Henry Francis Okinyal, the commissioner for vocational education in the Ministry of Education, says vocational training is crucial for any country’s development.

“There are private and public vocational institutes that offer a good number of courses in business, technical and vocational education for primary school leavers,” he explains.

Ilahi Mansoor, the assistant commissioner for technical education, says many parents are not aware that there are 25 government technical institutions countrywide that admit P.7 leavers.

The minimum entry requirement for a three-year course is aggregate 4 – 28 for government-sponsored and aggregate 28 – 30 for private sponsorship.

The institutions offer courses such as carpentry and joinery, brick-laying, motor vehicle mechanics, tailoring and garment cutting. St Kizito Institute Kitovu, in Masaka is the only one that offers plumbing. At the end of the course, the students obtain a Uganda junior technical certificate (UJTC).

There are also four government farm schools that take P.7 leavers. These are Kitagata in Bushenyi district, Rwampara Farm School and Rwentanga in Mbarara, and Ssese. These offer similar course units like the ones above, in addition to tropical agriculture. After the three years, the students obtain a UJTC in tropical agriculture.

Mansoor adds that there are also 16 community polytechnics offering a three-year course with a minimum entry requirement of aggregate 33.

After that, one can join a community polytechnic instructors’ college in Abilonino, Apac district. Innocent Calist Rwabukye, a crafts and shoemaker at Crane Shoes, says: “After my PLE, I straight away joined a vocational institute. I have nothing to regret.”

Rwabukye attended St. Benedict Junior Technical, Kakindo, in Bushenyi district and completed in 1985 with a Uganda Junior Technical Certificate.

He then proceeded to Bushenyi Technical Institute where he upgraded in 1986 - 1989 and acquired a certificate in crafts, shoe-making and leather tanning.

“Ugandans still have a colonial mentality hangover. They only look at white collar jobs. Many parents still do not encourage their children to take up vocational training,” he says.

Rwabukye explains that as his children mature, he talks to them about the kind of vocational courses they can take.

“It is painful seeing them walk up and down the streets of Kampala looking for white collar jobs for years,” Rwabukye adds.

Three of his children did vocational courses in nursing, catering and computer servicing and all are employed.

Rwabukye stresses that his decision to join the vocational sector was not accidental. “During my youthful days, I loved to make shoes and crafts.” He has now specialised in making sandals though he was trained to make shoes, s, wallets, belts, tablemats and carpets. He says he is able to meet all his needs.

Vocational training: A practical option for gifted hands

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